Wheelhouse Weekly – March 12, 2013

March 12th 2013


– Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use –

Volume 17 . . . Number 11. . . March 12, 2013

(Look in the archives for this weeks Special Edition.)



Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the Archives section.


The MM&P New York/New Jersey Union Hall will be closed on Monday, March 18, for Teddy Gleason’s Birthday.


MM&P member Captain Thomas B. Crawford has accepted the Cruising Club of America’s (CCA) Outstanding Seamanship Award on behalf of the officers and crew of Matson Navigation Company’s MV MOKIHANA for the rescue of a mariner who became seriously ill while competing in last June’s Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race, a 2,200-mile passage from San Francisco to Kauai. MM&P members who participated in the rescue along with Captain Crawford were Third Mate Todd J. Campbell, Second Mate Russell C. Cooper and Chief Mate Richard N. Thomas.

The story is unique in that–thanks to teamwork, expert seamanship and good luck–it culminated not only in the rescue of yachtsman Derk Wolmuth but also in the recovery of his 31-foot sailboat, the BELA BARTOK.

Although the primary goal of the rescue was clearly to save the skipper, Crawford saw an opportunity to save the sailboat too because it was equipped with a MONITOR wind vane self-steering device identical to one on his own 31-foot sailboat. “Once Derk mentioned that BELA had a MONITOR wind vane, my second goal was to try and get her to the islands,” Crawford said. He instructed the skipper “to complete a laundry list of tasks, secure his trim for a SWxW reach and adjust his wind vane to maintain it…” 

“After Derk was aboard the MOKIHANA it was necessary to get BELA headed for Hawaii,” Crawford said. “Gantline hauling, engine, helm and bow thruster were used to get her headed in the right direction again… When the word came that she had been recovered north of Maui the morning of June 19, high fives were numerous. Many people working towards a number of goals made for an amazing outcome.”

“Derk Wolmuth is a very lucky man by all indications,” said a spokesperson for Matson Navigation Company in an official statement. “He received excellent attention from the MOKIHANA’s medical officer Todd Campbell. He was lucky enough to encounter the MOKIHANA and her superb and thoughtful crew. The icing on the cake was the recovery of his sail vessel and home, the BELA BARTOK… The potential for such a rescue to go wrong is always there. The training, experience, teamwork and seamanship of the crew of the MOKIHANA reduced that potential to near zero.”

“Capt. Crawford went above and beyond his duty,” Wolmuth said. “After picking me up, he personally administered shots of antibiotics and was prepared to do surgery. He is a hell of a good man. I am humbled and eternally grateful. It makes you reflect about many things.”

Crawford accepted the CCA’s Rod Stephens Trophy for outstanding seamanship on behalf of the MOKIHANA officers and crew at an awards dinner on March 1.


It makes no sense to blame the American shipping industry in general, and the Jones Act in particular, for the spike in gasoline prices, says Adm. Albert J. Herberger, former U.S. Maritime Administrator. “The cost of shipping does not affect the price at the pump, the global market does,” he explains.

In a March 8 editorial that appeared in industry and trade publications, Herberger contests the claim made by opponents of the U.S.-flag shipping industry that the recent spike in prices at the pump is somehow related to the Jones Act, the long-standing U.S. maritime law that mandates the use of vessels that are American-crewed, -built and -owned to move cargo between two U.S. ports.

“The Jones Act is critical for American economic, national and homeland security, which is why it has enjoyed the support of the U.S. Navy, many members of Congress of both parties, and every president in modern history,” Herberger says. “The overwhelming factor in the price of gasoline at the pump is the price of its main raw material, crude oil, the price of which is set in the global marketplace by the law of supply and demand,” Herberger says. “The reason for the spike in crude oil prices is complicated, of course, but most experts believe an improving economy and demand in China has driven the recent crude price spike.” The cost of transportation within the United States is so insignificant as to have no effect at all on the price to consumers, Herberger says.

Herberger served as the administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration from 1993 to 1997. He is a retired U.S. Navy vice admiral who served in Vietnam and has been awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Service.


Echoing calls made by MM&P and the rest of the U.S.-flag maritime industry, the Navy League of the United States last week advised the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to reject proposals to defund the Food-for-Peace Program. Food-for-Peace calls for U.S.-flag ships to deliver a portion of overseas food assistance. Concerns over the program’s future were sparked in late February when the White House included a plan to change it in its 2014 budget proposal.

The proposed restructuring could potentially eliminate Food-for-Peace and a sister program, Food-for-Progress, and replace them with a smaller cash outlay managed by the U.S. Agency for International Development. MM&P and other representatives of the U.S.-flag fleet oppose restructuring the two programs on the grounds that it would endanger the jobs of 44,000 American merchant mariners, farmers, shippers, processors and port workers whose jobs rely in part on the provision of food aid.

MM&P joined other organizations in a Feb. 21 letter to President Obama that expressed strong opposition to proposals to shift resources for the programs to the procurement of commodities overseas. Last week the Navy League, in a letter to Acting OMB Director Jeffrey Dunston Zients, called Food-for-Peace essential to the American Merchant Marine. The program has already been cut by 35 percent since Fiscal Year 2008. The Navy League said further reductions “would be disastrous for the American maritime community” and as a consequence for the national defense and emergency response capabilities of the United States.


The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) announced March 7 that it had reached a tentative agreement on contract issues with employers in the Port of New York and New Jersey. ILA Communications Director Jim McNamara said the tentative agreement, which is still subject to minor adjustments, will be presented to local union officials this week when wage scale delegates meet to vote on the tentative master contract covering 14 ports on the East and Gulf coasts.

The New York Shipping Association last week released a statement saying that the parties had “produced a settlement that both sides agree will protect ILA members into the future and will allow NYSA-member shippers and carriers to remain competitive in the marketplace.”


An International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) local has filed an unfair labor practice claim against Mitsui Grain, the owner of the Pacific Northwest grain terminal that locked out employees after alleging that a worker sabotaged equipment. ILWU Local 4, which represents about 200 workers who load grain and other cargo at the Port of Vancouver, Wash., calls the lockout “an extreme, illegal response.”

Mitsui locked out the longshore workers on Feb. 27, claiming that a member of the union bargaining team was responsible for damaging company equipment in December. In its filing with the National Labor Relation Board, the local said the company can’t punish all the workers for the alleged act of one person. “This constitutes loss of employment based on anti-union animus and a sweeping unilateral change of terms and conditions of employment,” the local says in the complaint.

Mitsui was among three foreign multinational-owned terminal operations that declared an impasse in negotiations with the ILWU and imposed a concessionary contract. In related news, as was reported in last week’s Wheelhouse Weekly, the ILWU has ratified a contract with a competing U.S.-owned grain terminal operator, TEMCO LLC.


The Port of Philadelphia will gain new business when Horizon Lines transfers its northeast terminal operations there from Elizabeth, N.J., in April. The shipping company announced last week in an official statement that Philadelphia had been chosen to handle cargo arriving from Puerto Rico. Horizon Lines Puerto Rico General Manager Richard Rodriguez said that the relocation would yield quicker transit and turnaround times, as well as faster cargo inspections. The first Horizon Lines ship is scheduled to dock in the port of Philadelphia on April 11.


In a speech intended to call attention to Sleep Awareness Week (March 3-10), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman said NTSB investigations show that fatigue is a serious safety issue across all modes of transportation. “We’ve seen truck drivers driving through the night during circadian lows, mariners navigating treacherous channels during pre-dawn hours and air traffic controllers working rotating shifts with short turnarounds,” Hersman said.

NTSB has studied operator fatigue and issued recommendations that call for improved scheduling regulations and practices, education for operators and employers concerning fatigue and sleep disorders, and research to better understand the risks associated with fatigue in transportation. “There are too many transportation accidents where the lack of sleep and fatigue have either caused the accident or been a contributory factor,” Hersman added. “Sleep Awareness Week reminds us all of the vital importance of restorative rest.”


Captain Doug Casavant and Captain James White, both members of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG), have received kudos for a job well done in the most recent issue of the Military Sealift Command magazine “Sealift.”

White is Civil Service master of the USNS WILLIAM MCLEAN. He received congratulations and a command-at-sea pin from MSC Commander Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby. Casavant, master of MSC’s first joint high-speed vessel, USNS SPEARHEAD, was quoted on the occasion of the ship’s first official port call, to St. Petersburg, Fla. “It’s an honor to be here as master of this great ship,” he said. “We have a highly trained, experienced and capable crew to operate and navigate her and we’re excited to be part of MSC and the Navy’s future.” Casavant and the crew were presented with the key to the city of St. Petersburg by Congressman C. W. Bill Young and Mayor Bill Foster.


The Offshore Familiarization Course will be offered at the Los Angeles Hall on April 10-11 and Oct. 9-10. For more information or to sign up, please contact the Los Angeles Hall.


The remains of two unknown sailors, recovered by NOAA and the U.S. Navy in 2002 from the gun turret of the USS MONITOR, were buried on March 8 with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. USS MONITOR sank in a New Year’s Eve storm just over 150 years ago, carrying 16 crew members to their deaths.

“Just as the crew of the MONITOR fought tirelessly to keep their ‘old-time knight in armor’ afloat, so have many worked tirelessly since her loss to keep their commitment to her, and to the 16 sailors who answered the call-to-arms of a young nation in peril, and paid the ultimate price,” said Kathyrn D. Sullivan, acting undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and acting NOAA administrator, in remarks at the memorial service. “As keeper of the USS MONITOR National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA is committed to protecting the final resting site of this ‘little boat’ and her valiant crew, and to assuring that their memory and legacy are passed on to future generations.” Sullivan was joined by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. The area around the shipwreck became the first National Marine Sanctuary in 1975.

USS MONITOR is best known for its Civil War battle with the Confederate ironclad CSS VIRGINIA in Hampton Roads, Va., on March 9, 1862. The engagement marked the first time iron-armored ships clashed in naval warfare and signaled the end of the era of wooden ships. Less than a year later, while being towed to a new field of battle, USS MONITOR capsized and sank 16 miles south of Cape Hatteras, N.C., in 240 feet of water. No trace of the other 14 missing members of the crew has been found.


A barge under tow by the non-union Tug SPENCE, operated under contract for the U.S. Navy by TransAtlantic Lines, lost 22 containers on March 4 as it travelled from Jacksonville to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. About two dozen other containers were left leaning at a 45-degree angle on the aft section of the barge and had to be removed by crane after three tugs brought the barge back into port. Coast Guard vessels dispatched to the scene of the accident reported seeing four or five containers floating, which they marked with strobe lights to mitigate the risk to navigation.

The containers, most of which sunk, reportedly held a variety of items, including “combustible liquids, possibly diesel fuel,” compressed oxygen and carbon dioxide, aerosols used for refrigerants and fire extinguishers, as well as paint, household goods, food and other perishable items. The cause of the accident is under investigation, a Coast Guard spokesman said.


Between now and the end of June, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS. (Please keep in mind, however, that the schedule may be subject to change.)

For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at You can also try our on-line calendar to register for class:

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 3/26/2013, 4/2/2013

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 3/20/2013

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 3/18/13, 5/12/13

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/23/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 4/1/13, 6/17/13

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 3/18/13, 6/3/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 4/28/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 5/6/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 5/20/13

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/15/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/1/13, 4/15/13, 5/6/13, 6/24/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 4/8/13, 4/22/13, 5/13/13, 6/17/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 5/9/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 5/23/13

ECDIS-ENAV for Pilots (2 day): 6/13/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications: 5/23/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

FL – Flashing Light: 4/1/13, 4/10/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/24/13

LAP – License Advancement Program for C/Mate & Master: 4/1/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 5/23/13

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership, 3/25/13

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 3/18/13, 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/13/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/18/13, 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/23/13, 4/13/13, 4/27/13, 6/15/13, 6/29/13

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/3/13

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/3/13

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/15/13, 6/7/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 3/20/2013, 4/3/13, 4/10/134/17/13, 5/1/13, 5/15/13, 5/22/13, 6/5/13, 6/19/13, 6/26/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/25/13, 4/1/13

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 4/8/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 3/25/13, 4/29/13, 6/24/13

SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 5/6/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/20/13

… Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations.


Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

March 2013

18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
20th Fatigue, Sleep, and Medications
21-22 Azipod for Pilots
25-29 ECDIS
27-29 Vessel Security Officer

April 2013

1-12       GMDSS
3-5          Vessel Security Officer
8th         Radar Renewal
9-12       ARPA
22-26     ECDIS
22-26     Train the Trainer
22-3       GMDSS
29th       Med DOT
29-3       Medical Care Provider
29-10     Medical Person-In-Charge

May 2013

6-7          ECDIS for Pilots
6-10       Basic Meteorology
13th       Radar Renewal
14th       RFPNW Assessments
20-24     ECDIS
21-23     Bridge Resource Management for Pilots
28-31     ARPA
29-30     ECDIS for Pilots
29-31     Vessel Security Officer

June 2013

3-7          ECDIS
3-14       GMDSS
3-21       Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
10th       Radar Renewal
11-13     Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (3-day)
14th       Fatigue, Sleep, and Medications for Pilots
24-28     Radar Observer Unlimited
24-28     Medical Care Provider
27-28     Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-day)